Old Growth Tree Power Heals

The fir tree is a symbol of light and shared life in many of our homes this season. With each fresh snowfall, we see fir trees transformed with magical beauty, something beyond our ‘real’ world. Each year, we recall memories of gathering around other trees on other years with other people. Trees figure large in the stories we recount of trees climbed in childhood and all the events, holidays, mishaps, tree houses and camping trips where the presence of trees was paramount.

  Some of our spiritual experiences involved kything (knowing) trees, an old practice of pressing our backbone/spine into a big old tree trunk to feel the warmth the tree generates from it’s sap layer during the day, or picnicking under a tree or making the tree itself a hiking destination. Trees are important as community role models. Most trees can tolerate whatever the weather, bend to accommodate neighbors, keep us warm or cool, clean pollutants from the air, take toxins out of the soil, stop the spread of disease, and much more, in addition to supplying our oxygen.

 We tend to take trees for granted, yet immediately take on tension when they are absent or have fallen in a storm. And we relax when again next to one of them, perhaps even kythe it in relief. Maybe we need to take time to recognize how important they are to our lives.

 An exciting tree adventure is well underway, thanks to  Michigan nurseryman, David Milarch. Milarch and his son were visiting the old growth forest of redwoods in California when they discovered new shoots growing out of the root system of a fallen 1000+ year old redwood, one of the giants of the forest. These shoots were actual clones of the tree, had the same DNA and potential for longevity as the fallen tree. Unlike a tree grown from the seed of that tree, which would have been pollinated by another tree that may or may not have produced a combined DNA as strong as the cloned shoot, the cloned shoot will have the strong immune system that enabled the old growth tree to survive through centuries of climate change.

 Milarch warns us that 98 percent of US old growth forests have been taken down. 76 percent of old growth forests in the world are gone. BUT, if  giant old growth trees could be propagated, they would go a long way to recycling enormous amounts of carbon dioxide to provide abundant oxygen for us. Milarch began the first leg of what has become the Champion Tree Project and includes not only redwoods, but predominant trees in old growth forests all over the world. On December 4, the first old growth redwood clones were planted in the First Champion Redwood and Giant Sequoia Forest in Port Orford, Oregon. Milarch’s account is at http://www.TEDxJackson Hole-David Milarch.

 In New Hampshire, we have 250-400 year old growth hemlock and maples. The NH Natural Heritage Bureau tracks natural communities. Time to locate those giants in New Hampshire and see that their clones get a chance to meet the needs of present and future generations. Step one is to find out where those giants are and who we can work with to make propagation happen.

 Time for some new tree stories.


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2 Responses to “Old Growth Tree Power Heals”

  1. chin strap for snoring Says:

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re
    wonderful! Thanks!

    • elizabethterp Says:

      Hi Poppy,
      I write all of my posts myself. I do credit my sources where appropriate and in this one, I was moved by Michigan Nurseryman, David Milarch’s account of his story.
      Thanks, Elizabeth

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